Drivers in Texas and across the United States may feel a little groggy when spring daylight saving time begins as clocks spring forward. The sleepiness that many commuters feel as they head to work can lead to danger on the road.
Research has found that teenagers in Texas and throughout the United States go through bodily changes that make it more beneficial to wake up later in the day. It has also found that those between the ages of 13 and 18 need at least eight hours of sleep at night to function properly. Students who are not allowed to get enough quality rest could be more likely to make poor decisions while driving to school.
The four most common types of car accidents, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, are front-impact, side-impact, rear-end and parking lot collisions. Drivers in Texas would do well to review the ways that they can avoid these.
For over a century, the leading cause of auto accident fatalities in Texas and across the country has been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While there is such a thing as alcohol detection technology for cars, it often detects intoxication through a breath test. Volvo will be deploying technology that does not require a breath test, and it will be the first automaker to do so.
Many people in Georgia know that distracted driving is a major threat to highway safety. Due to laws designed to clamp down on the distractions created by smartphones, many drivers have shifted to hands-free mobile phones, at least for voice conversations. In general, phone usage that requires people to use their hands, like surfing the internet or most texting, is more distracting than voice conversations alone. Still, like any kind of stimulus, a hands-free cell phone can also be a distraction. People may struggle with voice commands and technical problems or simply get caught up in a conversation.
There is an opioid crisis in Texas and the rest of the U.S., and studies show that it is impacting the roads. From 1993 to 2016, the percentage of opioid-using drivers who initiated a crash rose from 2% to 7.1%. A study published in JAMA Network Open says that in fatal two-car crashes, the at-fault drivers were twice as likely as the other driver to test positive for opioids.
According to the National Safety Council, there are nine deaths each day attributed to distracted driving. While many people associate distracted driving with the use of cellphones, there are many distractions that drivers may have to deal with on a regular basis. For example, simply changing a radio station or eating while a vehicle is moving could take a person's focus off of the road.
Snow, ice and rain can confound drivers on Texas roads and others throughout the country. However, there are steps that they can take to minimize their chances of getting into an accident. If possible, it may be best to stay home during periods of inclement weather. This can help a person avoid sliding off an icy road or otherwise being at risk of bodily injury.
Drivers in Texas can certainly benefit from the one hour of sleep they gain with the end of daylight saving time, but they should know that risks are involved. Changes in sleep patterns give rise to drowsiness, which can affect driving for at least a day or two after they occur. The end of DST also causes some people to stay up late the night before and think that the extra hour will make up for it, but this also leads to drowsiness.
Even as the federal road safety agency celebrated a decline in overall deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents, the statistics pointed to increased dangers for pedestrians and cyclists in Texas and across the country. According to the NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 36,560 people were killed in auto accidents nationwide in 2018. This number reflects a 2.4% decline in accident fatalities, the second straight year of decreasing deaths. These positive signs come after several years of increasing deadly accidents as the economy recovered from the 2008-2009 financial crisis. However, pedestrian deaths did not show the same welcome trend with fatalities up 3.4%, reaching their highest point in 28 years.